Microsoft plans six security bulletins for July Patch Tuesday

According to the advance notification from Microsoft, there will be six security bulletins next week, but only two rated as Critical.

As much of the workforce in the United States coasts through the rest of the day looking forward to an extended weekend to grill hot dogs and drink beer--I mean, celebrate the nation's independence--Microsoft released its advance notification for next week's Patch Tuesday. The six security bulletins include two ranked Critical, three Important, and one listed merely as Moderate.

Six security bulletins is fewer than usual--with 106 security bulletins in 2013, the average has been just under nine security bulletins per month. But it's still enough to keep IT admins busy.

One of the two Critical security bulletins is related to Internet Explorer. It is most likely a new cumulative update patch. Ross Barrett, senior manager of security engineering at Rapid7, said, "It will be interesting to see just how many CVEs are in this round after the 59 patched in MS14-035. Rather than 59 being the new normal, I expect this round will return to the 8-12 CVEs addressed per IE patch standard."

Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys, stressed the importance of the IE update in a blog post. "This patch should be top of your list, since most attacks involve your web browser in some way. Take a look at the most recent numbers in Microsoft SIR report v16, which illustrate clearly that web-based attacks, which include Java and Adobe Flash are the most common."

The second Critical security bulletin impacts just about every supported version of the Windows operating system, up to and including Windows 8.1.

"Datacenter administrators shouldn't plan to be away too much next week since every bulletin impacts nearly every supported Windows Server version," said Russ Ernst, director of product management for Lumension. "Two of the bulletins even impact Windows Server set to Core mode."

"One thing to watch out for will be the many exceptions we saw last month. Many of the updates we saw in June require other updates to be in place, depending on the platform it applied to," said Chris Goettl, a product manager with Shavlik. "For those running Windows 8.1 or Server 2012 R2, they need to be prepared for more of these updates to require Update 1 before they can apply them."

Ernst cautioned, "It's the time of year where many people take vacation away from the office but this won't be the month to push off patching."

If you're in the U.S., enjoy the extra time off. Spend time with family and friends, and watch fireworks explode in the night sky in honor of Independence Day. But when you come back to work next week, come prepared to deploy some patches.

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